Australian news February 5, 2010

Les Burdett announces retirement

Cricinfo staff

Les Burdett, the long-serving Adelaide Oval groundsman, has announced his retirement. At 59, he will relinquish the position he has held for nearly 32 years.

"I've always believed that the Adelaide Oval pitch has hosted good cricket because its characteristics provide a great contest between willow and leather," he told the Age. "From the outside looking in it looks pretty simple - grab the lawnmower and the roller and get out there and do it and talk to the seagulls. But if you ask my family, it's a seven-day summer. It's a commitment."

Burdett started work at the Adelaide Oval as an 18-year-old in 1969 and took over as curator in 1978. His expertise has been in demand overseas and he has helped in pitch preparation in several countries, such as India, South Africa and Malaysia.

James Sutherland, Cricket Australia's chief executive, said: "Obviously the Adelaide Oval is one of the most beautiful grounds in the world and he's always been very proud of the way he's kept that ground. He's done a lot more than just that and he's played a role throughout Australian cricket as a consultant to us."

Federal Sports Minister Kate Ellis termed it a sad day. "I don't think many other grounds meet the standard of this picturesque venue, there aren't too many cricketing venues in the world that are held in the same esteem as Adelaide Oval and Les' legacy will live on in this amazing venue."